Enjoy and Achieve – Introduction and Summary

Within this strand of the Every Child Matters agenda are five specific themes, namely:

  • children’s readiness for school,
  • primary attainment,
  • secondary attainment,
  • attendance and exclusion and
  • personal and social development and recreation.

Across these six areas are the several recurring key groups of looked after children (LAC), children with special educational needs (SEN), black and minority ethnic pupils, pupils with English as an alternative language (EAL), those receiving free school meals (FSM), the gifted and talented and boys and girls. Each of these groups, where possible, will be given special analytical consideration.

Education inequalities remain across the country; the country’s most disadvantaged schoolchildren continue to underachieve. 15.9% of Bristol SOAs are in the bottom 10% of most deprived in the country. The following table places the disparity in Bristol in a national context, and the next map (to follow) shows the differences across the city:

Index of Child Well-being, Education Domain, (Bristol 2009)

Number of Bristol SOAs ranked in top 20% 44 17.5%
Number of Bristol SOAs ranked in second 20% 43 17.1%
Number of Bristol SOAs ranked in third 20% 34 13.5%
Number of Bristol SOAs ranked in fourth 20% 63 25.0%
Number of Bristol SOAs ranked in bottom 20% 68 27.0%

In 2005 it was acknowledged by Jos Clarke, the then executive member for children’s services, that “We have a systemic long-term problem with Bristol education,” At the time figures showed that just 28.2% of Bristol students passed five or more GCSEs at grade A* to C compared with 52.6% in Gloucestershire, for example. It is expected that this needs assessment will show the great strides that Bristol has made in the last five years, not only at the GCSE stage, but across all educational settings.

Some Key Points

  1. Educational standards continue to rise at all Key Stages in Bristol but there is still some way to go to reach national averages.
  2. BME pupils underachieve, particularly those from Black Caribbean and Somali ethnicities. Those with a Mixed/Dual background achieve better than average attainment scores.
  3. Girls continue to outperform boys at all stages and in the vast majority of subjects, with boys of Black ethnicity achieving particularly poor results.
  4. There are an increasing number of pupils for whom English is not their first language and their attainment scores at all Key Stages are significantly lower than their English-speaking counterparts.
  5. The correlation between educational achievement and deprivation remains evident, as evidenced by the poor results of pupils eligible for free school meals.
  6. Other educational inequalities are manifest in groups of pupils such as Looked After Children and those with Special Educational Needs.
  7. Boys are much more likely to be permanently or temporarily excluded from school than girls.
  8. The number of fixed-term exclusions halved between 2005 to 2009.

Summary by equality group

BME / Ethnic groups

BME children as a collective category continue to fall behind White British pupils across all key stages.  In early years and at KS1, these gaps appear to be widening.  By KS4, the trend is for the gap to reduce, but at KS5, the differences between White and BME pupils levels of attainment have been fairly stable over the past five years.  Breaking down the BME category into the five major ethnic groups, Asian and Chinese pupils tend to perform better than other pupils at all Key Stages, and Black pupils tend to perform the worst.  More detailed analysis of these trends is planned.


Girls tend to out-perform boys at all Key Stages.  The gap is certainly closing at early years, but the gulf between boys and girls for writing in particular remains large.  In KS1, girls’ performance declined compared to last year, allowing the boys to catch up a little, reaching near equivalence on maths, and by KS2 boys out-perform girls on that subject whilst also closing the gap for English.  At GCSE and A-Level, the gap is not significantly decreasing.


The gap between native English speakers and those for whom it is an additional language has widened across EYFSP, KS1 and KS2 over the past year.  However, at KS4, the gap is narrowing, and by one measure, almost extinguished.


A wide gap remains between children on Free School Meals and those who are not, however, the gap is gradually narrowing.  Wider gaps exist for English-based skills compared to mathematical and reasoning skills, as measured at EYFSP, KS1 and KS2.  The gap at KS4 remains large, however, and despite some positive movement on the measure which does not include English and Maths, the more testing measure shows that the gap between those on FSM and those not has now widened to 28%.


There is a mixed picture for SEN.  At EYFSP, the gap is narrowing, but at KS1 and KS2 it is widening.


Results for children in care have declined for EYFSP and KS1, resulting in a widening of the gap.  At KS2, attainment has improved dramatically.  Improvements have also been made at GCSE level, although the gap between CiC and their peers has widened due to a faster rate of increase for those children who are not in care.

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